For children who have experienced a loss of friend or family member, the emotional impact can be with them for the rest of their lives. To help children deal with their loss, Cypress Basin Hospice and First United Methodist Church have joined together for a two-day camp called Camp Brave Heart. Their mission is to bring hope and understanding to area children of Hopkins County.
“Cypress Basin Hospice is running this camp in Sulphur Springs, Mount Pleasant and Mount Vernon. We have held the event for several years after a woman, who worked at Cypress and attended our church, brought it to our attention,” said Adrienne Lilley. “We thought it was a fabulous idea and soon church volunteers started signing up for the first Camp Brave Heart in Sulphur Springs. That was about five years ago.”
The camp is two days and is free to any child who wants to attend. The primary focus of the camp is to bring together children who are dealing with similar losses. The kids get to talk to each other and, hopefully, help heal one another by learning they are not the only ones experiencing loss.
“We do several memory crafts to help the kids hold onto a memory of their loved ones. This year, they made a treasure chest, where they can write down special memories of the person they lost,” said Lilley. “The treasure chest gives them an opportunity to talk about things that they liked or miss with other children.”
Lilley continued to explain that the camp made a real difference in the children's lives.
“Most of them do not want to talk very much in the beginning of the camp. By the end, most of the kids want to share with you what they have gone through,” said Lilley
Twenty-six children attended the camp this year. The event had a pirate theme in which the speaker, “Captain Brave Heart,” was available to have serious talks with the kids. Cancer, other illnesses and accidents all came up in conversation during at the camp.
“‘Captain Brave Heart’ brought the children his treasure chest and talked about the loss of his parents,” said Lilley “We also have a memorial service where the kids get to do something for their loved ones. We have a chaplain from Cypress Basin Hospice lead the ceremony. At the end of the camp, we will have a balloon release, followed by a more light-hearted lunch.”
Although the camp ended this week, Camp Brave Heart will be extended from a two to three day camp next year. For more information, contact Jennifer Beene at Cypress Basin Hospice at 903-577-1510 or visit cbhospice.org.
After finding 54-year-old Roy Dean Duffey guilty of murder in the February 2011 stabbing death of David Harrison Cooper Jr., Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Eddie Northcutt set punishment at 20 years in prison after hearing closing arguments from District Attorney Will Ramsay and defense attorney Frank Hughes.